Over the last few years, I am very proud of how accurate and insightful SFN’s bowl selection analyses and scoop have been. You may have noticed that SFN has not participated in bowl conjecture and speculation this year. Part of the reason for our absence this year is that our author team has been severely depressed and unmotivated this week after State’s loss at Maryland (football) last Saturday and beat-down at Wisconsin (basketball) on Wednesday. The other reason is that we’re pretty confident in the way year’s bowl situation will unfold for the Wolfpack – since last Saturday night, the only real risk to the Wolfpack playing in the Champs Bowl in Orlando on December 28th lies in the Champs choosing Miami over the Wolfpack to pair with Notre Dame.
As this week has evolved, no developments have unfolded to change my view on this. Even though rumors have started to leak over the last couple of days that the Champs and NC State are a done deal after a mid-week presentation made by NC State, I still don’t remain 100% confident the Champs doesn’t pull a ‘Miami surprise’ until I see it. Of course, anything can change at the last minute; so, we’ll see later today.
Regardless of where the Wolfpack ultimately plays, a bowl will be choosing from a subset of NC State and Maryland; and the drive-by, ‘level one thinking’ media around Washington, DC has numbed my mind with the manner in which they have framed the comparison between State and Maryland.
The media has reported and positioned the Champs’ choice as a clear decision of dollars as represented by NC State’s traveling fan base vs performance as (supposedly) evidenced by Maryland.
Don’t believe me? Take for instance this article from the Washington Post
Maryland (8-4) has the advantage on the field, having beaten N.C. State 38-31 in the regular season finale. The Terrapins are a team on the rise, seemingly improving each week, win or lose, and feature standouts in QB Danny O’Brien and WR Torrey Smith
and this article from SBNation * Washington DC.
The big issue for the Champs Sports Bowl is whether they will get a good turnout at the game. Maryland may have had a compelling season, but their fanbase is very clearly smaller than N.C. State’s, much less the other top ACC schools. If the Champs Sports Bowl elects to go with fan support over on-field play, then they will select N.C. State.
Well, they have part of it right. There is, of course, no comparison between the fan support and overall interest between NC State and Maryland. This entry is all you need to know about the ‘fan’ piece of the equation.
But, we need to go back to the premise that - “Maryland has the advantage on the field” although both schools finished the season exact same 8-4 / 5-3 record as NC State. (This is why people are confused and Maryland people have a false hope for the Champs Bowl.)
I guess I an understand the ‘level one’ thought that goes into to the media’s ‘deep’ analysis of looking at the head to head performance of a SINGLE GAME (played in College Park) with a controversial ending and proclaiming that Maryland has the edge in performance. I don’t know about you, but I seem to remember watching ELEVEN other football games that took place on various Thursday nights and Saturdays in the fall of 2010?! Heck, I *think* I even paid hundreds of dollars and personally attended a lot of these games that evidently don’t matter at all to the ‘intellectual’ Washington media.
Forgive me for being a stickler for silly things like reality…and facts…but, let’s take a quick look at a few items that paint the accurate picture about the 2010 SEASON as opposed to a single week of football. During the TWELVE GAME 2010 SEASON, the Wolfpack and the Terrapins finished with identical records against schedules with vastly different levels of difficulty. We start crafting the specifics in this entry that you should review. In summary:
- NC State played NINE teams that are currently bowl eligible, including both participants in the ACC Championship Game.
- Maryland played SEVEN bowl eligible teams and only one participant in the ACC Championship Game.
- NC State played teams that finished #1; #3 (tie); and #3 (tie) in the Coastal Division to put together our record.
- Maryland played teams that finished #2; last (tie); and last (tie) in the Coastal Division to put together their record.
- NC State played 1 OOC cupcake in Western Carolina to get to 8 wins.
- Maryland played 2 OOC cupcakes in Morgan State & Florida International to get to 8 wins.
- Even WITH Maryland’s head to head victory, the well respected Sagarin computer rankings indicate a significant difference in the performance the two teams’ OVERALL seasons — NC State #31; Maryland #42.
- In fact, a quick analysis of 132 different ranking & ratings indicate that NC State is ranked ahead of Maryland in 121 of 132 different rating systems.
After one short sighted writer decides to proclaim that ‘Maryland has the advantage on the field’ by taking into account 8.5% of a season and nobody challenges the conclusion. That is why we exist. I know I am just a simple old boy from North Carolina, but can someone please figure out an intellectual way to explain to me how Maryland had a better season than NC State when the programs crafted identical records against obviously disparate schedules and 121 of 132 different ranking services/metrics indicate that NC State had a better season than Maryland? Tell me again how it responsible or accurate to can sweepingly declare Maryland has the ‘advantage on the field’?
Note: Various members of the SFN author team contributed to this entry.